Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, affects one in five babies. Red, itchy patches can appear just about anywhere on your baby’s body, causing pain and irritation. Parents often worry about their baby’s appearance, too. Thankfully, most babies outgrow it by the time they are about 6 months old.
In the meantime, you have ways to control it. Nor can we fault any mum who hesitates to use the many creams and steroids that can treat her baby’s flare-ups. Here are some natural remedies that may ease your sweetie’s itchies.
It is widely known that breastmilk is not only packed with antibodies, it has healing properties, too. This “liquid gold” makes an ideal treatment for eczema because it is gentle on the skin and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that could aggravate it even more. Add a cup of expressed breastmilk to your baby’s next bath, or apply some thinly on the affected area directly, then allow to dry.
Oatmeal is a natural way to lock in the body's moisture, protect the skin and soothe any irritation. Blend some oats (rolled oats work well) till it’s of a finely powdered consistency. Stir in a cup of this into a warm bath ― the water will turn milky and feel silky. Give your baby an oatmeal bath once or twice a day.
Besides boosting the skin’s immune system, aloe vera has natural healing properties, particularly on tissues of the skin’s surface. Best applied directly from a freshly-cut plant.
Coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties to soothe itchy skin. It also contains lauric acid to help fight infection, as well as caprylic and capric acid, and vitamins E and K to repair and nourish broken skin. Apply thinly on your baby’s skin after his bath, then leave it on until it’s absorbed completely.
Camomile not only soothes and softens skin, it may even help baby sleep better. Steep a couple of camomile tea bags in a cup of hot water, then add the water to a warm bath. Let it cool to a comfortable temperature before letting bubba enjoy a natural, fragrant healing bath.
All-natural baking soda is a natural antiseptic that can reduce skin inflammation and detoxify it, while balancing the pH. It also strengthens the skin to prevent future flare-ups. Add a quarter cup of baking soda to a warm bath. Alternatively, mix the baking soda with some warm water to create a thick paste. Apply on affected areas, leave for 5 minutes, then wash off.
This herb boasts anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Apply a paste of ground coriander leaves on the eczema-infected area, wash off after half an hour.
Illustrations by Paulyn Ng.
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